National Enquirer publisher denies breaking law in Jeff Bezos 'blackmail photos' row

Jeff Bezos accuses the National Enquirer of 'extortion and blackmail'

The CEO of Amazon wrote in a Medium post on Thursday that American Media Inc., the publisher of The National Enquirer led by David Pecker, was in posession of Bezos' amateur boudoir photography, and threatened to release them unless Bezos stops his investigation into how Pecker got the pecker photos in the first place. That same day, the National Enquirer touted it was publishing alleged intimate text messages between Bezos and Lauren Sanchez, a former television anchor whom he was said to be dating.

The billionaire, who also owns the liberal Washington Post newspaper, said AMI had wanted him to make a "false public statement" that the National Enquirer's coverage of him and his mistress was not politically motivated.

On Friday, AMI said that at the time of Mr Bezos' allegations it was "in good faith negotiations to resolve all matters with him". "Upon completion of that investigation, the Board will take whatever appropriate action is necessary", it added.

"It's unavoidable that certain powerful people who experience Washington Post news coverage will wrongly conclude I am their enemy", Bezos wrote "President Trump is one of those people, obvious by his many tweets".

The first whiff of controversy came January 9 when Bezos posted a statement on Twitter, signed by him and his wife of 25 years, MacKenzie, announcing plans to divorce.

CNN Business has reached out to AMI for comment regarding Farrow's claim.

"So sorry to hear the news about Jeff Bozo being taken down by a competitor whose reporting, I understand, is far more accurate than the reporting in his lobbyist newspaper, the Amazon Washington Post". Muddying the situation further, Bezos owns the Washington Post, which has written critical stories about Trump.

What kind of person walks away from a near-catastrophic brush with federal prosecutors, only to immediately resume committing the silliest, most foolish of crimes?

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In his Medium post, Bezos wrote: "Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, I've made a decision to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten".

The accusations of blackmail could complicate a related legal matter involving the National Enquirer's actions during the 2016 United States elections.

Bezos's suggestion is apparently based on his investigator de Becker's belief that the text messages were obtained not by a private entity hacking his or Sanchez's phones, but by a "government entity" accessing their texting records-presumably, the Saudis.

In a stunning blog post on Thursday, he posted an email he said had been sent to his intermediaries by AMI lawyer Jon Fine threatening to publish photos of him and his lover, former TV host Lauren Sanchez.

Jeff Bezos's clash with the National Enquirer, including a fight to prevent compromising photos from being published, is putting the supermarket tabloid and its financial backers back under scrutiny.

Bloomberg News reported that federal prosecutors were already reviewing the matter, including whether the tabloid breeched its immunity agreement. He also said he had recommended his sister fire Mr de Becker.

Bezos' allegations, detailed in a blog post, also highlight a tabloid practice known as "catch-and-kill", in which the gossip sheets use the threat of damaging stories as leverage or to curry favor with a celebrity, Goldberg said.

"These communications cement AMI's long-earned reputation for weaponizing journalistic privileges, hiding behind important protections, and ignoring the tenets and objective of true journalism", Bezos wrote in his blog post.

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